FP1: Hamilton heads Piastri in opening practice in Monaco as Leclerc runs over debris

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the benchmark in the opening practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, fractionally beating the McLaren of Oscar Piastri. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 1.

The Monaco street track is one of the most challenging race track on the current F1 schedule given its layout and the proximity of walls. Drivers usually flirt with the walls to find the last possible gain, but they usually build up their confidence over the race weekend in Monte Carlo.

However, it was not the case today as the majority of the field immediately started to brush the walls with the shoulder of the Pirelli tyres. In the end, it was Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton who found himself on top of the timesheets, setting a time of 1m12.169s on Pirelli's soft tyres.

The surprise man from Imola, Oscar Piastri took second, also using the red-walled tyres. Hamilton's team-mate George Russell racked up an impressive total of 35 laps with his best time being only a tenth off from what the seven-time world champion managed.

After his brilliant win and second place in the last two races, Lando Norris put his McLaren into P4, having been a thousand of a second quicker than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque looked very quick in the first part of the session, but he refused to use the soft tyres which meant that he was unable to challenge for the top position.

The Monegasque was plagued by bad luck as he drove over the debris from Zhou Guanyu's Kick Sauber at Sainte Devote. The incident happened with around 15 minutes left on the clock, and the session had to be red-flagged for a short period of time. The incident caused damage to the floor of Leclerc's SF-24, and he could only complete installation laps until the end of the session.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz was also restricted to the medium and the hard compound, and ended up 10th quickest.

Red Bull’s session brought more radio complaints for reigning world champion Max Verstappen and a puncture for Sergio Perez en route to P11 and P12 respectively. Red Bull's junior team, the Visa RB outfit had a much more encouraging opening session with Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo finishing the one-hour session on P8 and P9 respectively.

Following its struggles for pace in Imola, Aston Martin appeared to be in better form as Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest, six tenths of a second off the pace while his team-mate Lance Stroll finished just fractionally behind in P7.

Alpine had a difficult day as Esteban Ocon complained about severe bouncing, and finished down in P18, almost two seconds off the pace. His team-mate Pierre Gasly could only rack up a total of 10 laps as a power unit issue kept him in the garage for most of the session.


144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:12.16935
281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:12.198+0.029s31
363George RussellMercedes1:12.295+0.126s35
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:12.396+0.227s33
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:12.397+0.228s33
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.775+0.606s26
718Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.789+0.620s26
822Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:12.875+0.706s34
93Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:12.901+0.732s36
1055Carlos SainzFerrari1:12.954+0.785s35
111Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:12.984+0.815s29
1211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:13.229+1.060s29
1377Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:13.248+1.079s28
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:13.390+1.221s33
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:13.425+1.256s34
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:13.576+1.407s34
172Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:14.150+1.981s36
1831Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:14.159+1.990s33
1924Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:14.570+2.401s30
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:15.574+3.405s10